Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, opened in June 1997 as has since made a reputation for itself as one of the most amazing attractions in the Smokies. More than one million visitors annually enjoy Ripley's unique approach of combining showmanship with serious marine science. Winner of 'The 1999 SC Governor's Cup,' Ripley's guests continue to be entertained by some of the world's most beautiful, fascinating and dangerous aquatic life. With 87,000 square feet and 1.2 million gallons of saltwater, Ripley's Aquarium is home to over 6,000 fishes from the sea. The 'Cargo Hold Gift Shop' features specialty merchandise with an aquatic theme, and the 'Feeding Frenzy Snack Bar' offers a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.
Traveling through the 750,000-gallon Dangerous Reef tunnel on Ripley's 330-foot moving glide path, visitors are surrounded on all sides by sharks up to 10 feet in length. Other spectacular features at Ripley's Aquarium include the Discovery Center, an interactive area with a horseshoe crab touch tank, Ray Bay and Friendship Flats, an area inhabited by a variety of stingrays and small sharks offering guests a chance to pet a ray, and Rainbow Rock, a stunning display of thousands of brilliantly colored tropical Indo-Pacific sea fishes. Educational presentations and dive shows are scheduled throughout the day to bring even more enjoyment and value to your visit.
Check out Ripley's new hands-on, highly interactive exhibit SWARM, which features a schooling fish exhibit where you can crawl underneath and pop up in the middle and so much more! Discover and unlock the mysteries of how and why thousands of animals dynamically coordinate their actions into a single, overwhelming force to create super-organisms. Many swarms may appear to be remarkably similar, but a closer look will reveal that they are governed by drastically different motives and mechanisms. For a limited time only, Ripley's Aquarium showcases the exciting world of swarms, and as Aquarium visitors will learn, humans are not the only creatures that swarm together!
Upper Level Exhibits
Meet the slimiest animals in Myrtle Beach at the SLIME exhibit. Here, guests will be able to learn all about animals such as banana slugs, mudpuppies, and the American lobster.
This exhibit features animals such as piranhas, the arapaima, redtail catfish, and colorful, poisonous dart frogs.
At Friendship Flats, guests will be able to have a unique experience and touch a live stingray. The lagoon is filled with these amazing creatures, so you can learn all about them while watching them paddle around.
Lower Level Exhibits
At Rainbow Rock, guests can view some of the most colorful tropical fish. Relive the best of Finding Nemo with the beautiful blue tangs and clown fish, and see other amazing creatures like the clown triggerfish, foxface rabbitfish, sohal tang, and the emperor angelfish. There are also regularly-occurring dive shows that happen at this tank, so don’t miss out.
The Dangerous Reef is home to some of the more startling creatures in the sea. Some of the inhabitants include the green moray eel, sandtiger shark, tarpon, the sandbar shark, and nurse sharks. Guests can also see beautiful sea turtles as they glide along in the tunnel.
Get an amazing hands-on experience at Ripley’s at the Discovery Center! Here, guests can hold horseshoe crabs and take to an interactive playground for the kiddos. Puffer fish can also be seen at this amazing area.
See the stunning, colorful, and slightly weird creatures in this ocean realm at the Living Gallery. This area holds animals such as weedy sea dragons, octopus, and jellyfish.
Filled with gentle giants and beautiful marine life, Ray Bay is filled with tons of animals that guests can even touch. See animals such as the cownose ray, spotted eagle ray, southern stingray, the bonnethead shark, and the leopard shark.
At the Systems Control portion of the aquarium lies the backbone of the center itself. Here, guests can view the computer-controlled system that makes the aquarium run smoothly. Comprised of 1.4 million gallons of water total, the system filters through over 11 million gallons of water a day.
As well as amazing exhibits and stunning creatures, guests can take in one of the fantastic live shows that are put on every day.
Rainbow Rock Dive
Found that the Rainbow Rock exhibit, this show captivates audiences as divers explore the coral reefs, feeding and taking care if its inhabitants. The diver will also share plenty of neat information as well as explain how the animals are cared for. Shows are at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm.
Ray Bay Dive
If you have ever been curious about the caretaking of rays and sharks, the Ray Bay Dive is a show you do not want to miss out on. Watch the divers as they swim among these creatures while hand-feeding them carefully crafted meals. Plus, you’ll get to take in an educational presentation that will teach you all about these sea dwellers. Shows take place at noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm, and 8 pm.
On the weekends, check out the aquarium and watch the Mermaid Show! Guests of all ages are bound to have an amazing time watching the show, which is set to music and features mermaids that frolic among the animals of Ray Bay. Shows are held at noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm only on weekends.
Ripley’s Aquarium Conservation Efforts
As well as providing the public of the Myrtle Beach area with fantastic views of marine life, the Ripley’s Aquarium also puts forth tons of conservation efforts to ensure that the animals they house are properly maintained. The aquarium advocates for conservation beginning at home, including recycling, saving water, and saving electricity. As well as hitting hard that conservation begins at home, the aquarium also maintains an aquarium breeding program to ensure none of their animals are taken from the wild. They breed seahorses, clownfish, cownose rays, bamboo sharks, jellies, and more. They also work with a network of other aquariums to keep these programs growing.
Sea Turtle Rescue & Release
Ripley’s is also known for its efforts and work with green sea turtles. These beautiful creatures are on the endangered species list. In September, Ripley’s released their first loggerhead turtle which was rescued off the beaches in North Litchfield, stranded with no hope of surviving. The aquarium worked alongside various other institutions to bring Magnolia back up to health until she was ready to be released.
Do not miss out on the opportunity to discover what lies under the sea at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach! Just like its sister aquarium in Gatlinburg is the best in the Smokies, this aquarium brings the best of the region to the table. Get your tickets today to all the fun attractions and make it an adventerous family vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC!
- What is included in the admission price for Ripley's Aquarium?
Includes all of the exhibits.
- Approximately how long could a customer plan to spend at Ripley's Aquarium?
Guests spend about 2 hours here.
- What amenities (such as ATM, gift shop, etc) are available?
There is a gift shop.
- Are wheelchairs and strollers available? Is there a rental fee?
Wheelchairs are available at Guest Services.
- Is Ripley's Aquarium handicap accessible?
- Is photography & video recording allowed?
- For what ages is Ripley's Aquarium appropriate?
- Is parking available at Ripley's Aquarium? Is it free?
Yes. Parking is free.